HOCKEY in the region looks to be on a fast track to success as skilled and competitive junior players continue to break their way into the international ranks.
Sarah Robertson, from Borders Fjordhus, and Kirsty Hill, who plays for Cala in Edinburgh, made the U18 Scotland squad, while Emily Newlands, Lucy Ramsay, Gina Ramsay and Nicola Wealleans, also from the Borders Fjordhus club, reached the U16 Scottish squad during the 2010/11 campaign.
Sarah (Selkirk High School) and Kirsty (Kelso High) are two of the most talented players to come out of the Borders and next week the pair are off with the Scotland U18 women to the EuroHockey Championship Division One in Utrecht, Holland. The girls will play Belgium, Ireland and Holland in their section.
Sarah and Kirsty have already enjoyed a successful season in the build-up to these championships. Both have played in 14 international matches, beating France (twice) and Wales, and drawing with Germany, while also overcoming Scotland A and the Scottish Masters.
Janet Jack, Borders hockey development officer, told TheSouthern: “Both are very dedicated players, very athletic and fantastic role models within their schools and clubs. They are always willing to work hard and learn more, and never satisfied to just make do.
“They have been fortunate over the last two years to benefit from the Athlete Support Programme (ASP), where they have access to strength and conditioning, individual skills sessions, psychological and nutritional advice, and physiotherapy, which has had a major impact on their success.”
Elsewhere, the U16 girls played in 11 internationals throughout the season and Emily (Selkirk High) started in defence in every one. Lucy (Kelso High) also travelled to all competitions against the Welsh, English, Belgians, Germans and Dutch, and along with Nicola (Berwickshire High) ended the campaign as equal top goal scorer. Gina (Kelso High) has also been an integral part of the training squad.
Jack added: “The quality of these players is testimony to the hard work that is put in through the teachers at their respective schools, and through their club coaches. The support and coaching they receive is of a very high standard, but without their winning attitude, these girls would not have achieved their goals.”